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Being in prison is inconvenient, but it has not stopped major drug dealers from carrying out a very profitable business.
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A prison official shows off a high-powered home-make rocket launcher made of plastic drink bottles and a tube that was found outside the walls of Khlong Pai prison in Nakhon Ratchasima. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
Drug dealers in prison
Some of the mobile phones confiscated from inmates over the past six months. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
Until recently, being a drug dealer in prison was inconvenient but it did not prevent you from carrying out your business.
The walls of the prison prevented you from going out, but it didn't prevent you from getting the necessary tools of the trade – especially a mobile telephone. And, as the recent raids at Nakhon Si Thammarat prison have shown, drug dealers also found hundreds of willing customers among fellow prisoners.
Now, things are getting tougher for imprisoned drug dealers. Over the past six months, prison officials have carried out numerous raids and, perhaps more importantly, they are getting rid of prison officials who themselves have been involved in the illegal trade.
A total of 28 prison warders and officials found involved in bringing in illicit drugs, mobile phones and other prohibited items into prisons have been dismissed over the past six months.
During that time, the Corrections Department has seized 9,513 mobile phones and smartphones, 5,834 Sim cards, 58,991 methamphetamine pills, and about 6,577 grammes of crystal meth, or ya ice, in prison cells across the country, said department chief Suchart Wong-anantchai.
Prison officials still face a big challenge in eliminating the prison drug trade altogether, however. Inmates have been supplied with drugs, phones and other needed equipment in just about every way imaginable from high-pressure water rockets to hollowed-out bars of soap.
A probe into the smuggling of mobile phones into Nakhon Si Thammarat prison found that a major drug inmate had asked members of his drug network outside the prison to establish close ties with owners of land plots near the prison, a source at the Corrections Department said.
If any land owner had a daughter, a drug member would get married to the woman by offering a dowry of 100,000-300,000 baht.
After the marriage, the gang would use the land plot as a site to throw mobile phones over the prison wall, the source said.
Adapted from a story in Saturday's Bangkok Post by King-Oua Laohong and Nucharee Rakrun
launcher – a device that sends something such as a rocket or a missile into the air with force – สิ่งที่ใช้ปล่อย, เครื่องปล่อย
dealer – a person who sells (illegal drugs in this case) ผู้จำหน่าย
inconvenient – causing difficulties or extra effort ซึ่งไม่สะดวก
prevent – to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening ขัดขวาง, กัน, กีดขวาง
trade – a job, especially one which needs special skill; occupation; a type of business อาชีพ, การค้าขาย
tools of the trade – equipment necessary to do a particular job or business
numerous – many มากมาย
raid – using force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs การเข้าตรวจค้น
willing –happy to do something ซึ่งสมัครใจ, ซึ่งมีความตั้งใจ
fellow – used for talking about people who are similar to you or are in the same situation เพื่อนร่วมชะตากรรม
tough – difficult to do or to deal with ยาก ยากลำบาก
get rid of – to remove something that is causing a problem; to throw something away กำจัดหรือขจัดให้หมดไป
involved – taking part or having a role in something เกี่ยวข้อง
illegal – against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
warder – someone whose job is to guard prisoners in a prison ผู้คุม
illicit – against the law ผิดกฎหมาย
prohibit – to not allow; to ban ห้าม
dismiss – to force someone to leave their job ไล่ออกจากตำแหน่ง
Corrections Department – the government department in charge of running prisons กรมราชทัณฑ์
seize – to take something using official power ยึด
cell – a small room where a prisoner is kept ห้องขังนักโทษ
confiscate – to officially remove someone’s possessions for legal reasons or as a punishment ยึดทรัพย์
inmate – someone who is kept in a prison, mental hospital or other institution นักโทษ
challenge – something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย
eliminate – to get rid of completely กำจัดหรือขจัดให้หมดไป
imaginable – including every possible example that you can think of ที่สามารถนึกภาพได้
hollow out – to make a hole in something by removing part of it ขุดเป็นหลุมหรือแอ่ง
probe – an investigation การสอบสวน
smuggling – secretly and illegally taking goods or people into or out of a country or place การลักลอบ
major – very large or important สำคัญมาก
network – a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. เครือข่าย
ties – relations; connections ความสัมพันธ์
plot – a piece of land used for a particular purpose ที่ดินแปลงเล็ก
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
daughter – a person's female child ลูกสาว
dowry – money and/or property that, in some societies, a husband must pay to his wife's family when they get married ; money and/or property that, in some societies, a wife or her family must pay to her husband when they get married; สินสอดทองหมั้น, สินสมรส
site – a place where something is located สถานที่